Commitment to an Ageless Brain
When we throw ourselves into a project and know every detail about it, do we expect others to be just as excited over the outcomes? In my case, yes, I do! As confusing as this has been for me, it has pushed me to tailor my message to fit their needs. On some level we all understand what we need to do to live a healthy lifestyle. But what is asked of each of us as we begin to change our brains – is a full commitment. This is hard work. Our brain changes when we are consistently and repetitively working with each of the pieces of a brain healthy lifestyle. Take physical exercise for instance. This is one of the easier practices to do and feel results. We have to incorporate physical activity into our lives. It is important to get creative with our activities. Maybe we bump physical exercise up a notch and take up dancing. Now we have the aerobic exercise we need to make things happen, but we are also learning new dance steps or routines. This challenges our brain, and we create new neurons, (Neurogenesis), and new pathways (Neuroplasticity).
These two parts of the brain healthy lifestyle increases brain volume and builds cognitive reserve (extra cells and connections that keep the brain functioning even in the onslaught of a neurodegenerative disease). All that is great, but we need to give the brain the nutrients it needs to function on a high level. Well now we are talking about a brain healthy diet and diet strikes fear in the hearts of many of us. We are just now seeing what brain healthy food can look like as nutritionists are gaining recognition and acceptance over their healthy recipes.
Okay, now we are physically active, learning new things and challenging our brains, eating the right foods but there is still more to do. We need to be with other people. Connecting with others increases our cognition. We can’t be shy about meeting other people. Sharing an interest in brain health definitely creates common ground.
We aren’t done yet! We need to get a good night’s sleep – every night. Our brain gets a good cleaning and consolidates memory while we sleep. This doesn’t sound like a hard thing to do. But unfortunately, for many people it is. They need to learn new sleep habits. Anytime you are overlaying a new habit it takes time and patience – even if it’s about sleeping.
Finally, we have to reduce stress. Stress is probably the hardest part of a brain healthy lifestyle to change. We have to learn new skills to live a calm lifestyle. Again, that doesn’t seem like it would be so hard, but we live in a 24/7 stressful environment. Instead of getting out of this stress, we have to learn new skills to control it.
It takes a commitment to living a brain healthy lifestyle to create the brain we need for longevity. We can change our brain!